Newly formed Hong Kong-based basketball team Bay Area Dragons is making the Philippines its temporary home because of Covid-19 restrictions in the city, the East Asia Super League (EASL) said on Monday. Formerly known as the Bay Area Chun Yu Phoenix, the Dragons announced they were joining the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) next Governors’ Cup, which will be played later this year. The Dragons will be the league’s first Chinese guest team. The name change is out of respect for the established PBA team Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bay Area Dragons (@bay_area_dragons) “This new regional partnership is an opportunity for Filipino and Chinese basketball players to elevate their level through elite competition, while gaining massive exposure,” Matt Beyer, the EASL CEO, said. The Bay Area Dragons were created with the support of the Hong Kong Basketball Association (HKBA) and the sport’s world governing body FIBA, in a bid to represent the region in EASL games. “The PBA is honoured to welcome the Bay Area Dragons, bringing the best talent in Greater China to the Philippines to play in the PBA Governors’ Cup,” Ricky Vargas, the PBA board’s chairman, said. “This one-of-a-kind club will attract enormous international attention and help the PBA expand its market in Asia. We also believe that the addition of the Dragons will dramatically increase the level of competition for Filipino and Chinese basketball.” The club’s roster will be a combination of top local free agents from Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, and like all EASL teams, will have one Asian import and two foreign import players. East Asia Super League wants to bring professional basketball team to Hong Kong According to Governor’s Cup regulations, the team will play with one import. The Dragons are also touting a “world-famous head coach with decades of championship-winning history in the world’s top leagues”, although officials have yet to confirm who that will be. Meanwhile, the franchise will be led by former Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) general manager, Liu Quansheng. “The Dragons will awaken to deliver a product that all Chinese fans can be proud of and enjoy watching,” Liu said. “This is the first Chinese club to play internationally in a foreign league, representing new opportunities for Chinese players to perform and grow against the best in the region.” The Dragons will play and be based in Metro Manila, while games will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum or the SM Mall of Asia Arena. EASL’s inaugural home-and-away season pan-regional format begins in October with eight teams. Aside from the Dragons and Taiwan’s P League+ championship team, the champions and runners-up of the previous Japan B League, Korea KBL and Philippines’ PBA seasons will qualify.